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Turiaf Takes First Shot at Young Bigs' Market

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While backup point guard remains the biggest personnel question mark for McHale and the gang, I for one am very curious to see what happens with Ryan Gomes and Craig Smith. Both are a little short for the front court, but both have shown that they have a lot to offer teams at the NBA level.

Well, the market for young forwards and centers just got a little clearer.

from Press-Enterprise

The Lakers are in wait-and-see mode regarding Ronny Turiaf, who has agreed to a four-year, $17 million deal with the Warriors. ... His deal would start at $4.2 million per season, a substantial raise over the $770,610 he made last season.

Over at the old Hoopus, I put up a couple stories that looked at what Gomes and Smith might cost this offseason. I pegged Gomes at 5yrs/$25 million and Craiggers at 3yrs/$12 million.

Gomes is slightly more proven and combines perimeter shooting with smart defense and spacing. Smith is a monster-scorer on the low block, but is easily overmatched on defense. Turiaf, by comparison, has a jumper, but is no deep threat, and can bang with the giants of the league on D.

What does this all mean for the Wolves? I think Gomes will be more sought-after than Turiaf. He's more versatile and is known as a great team player not only on the court, but on the bench and in the locker room. In comparison to other positions, Gomes would certainly seem to be better than Beno Udrih (who got the full MLE, 5yrs/$32 million, from the Kings) but less valuable than, say, Jose Calderon (5yrs/$40 million from the Raptors). Not to mention the fact that only one team (the Clippers) looks like they're willing to spend more than the MLE, and it wouldn't be on Gomes. I'd put my best guess for Gomes at Pietrus money right now (4yrs/$25 million) and say he's well worth it.

EDIT: [Stupid return button, submitting my story...] Back to Craig:

Smith, I would imagine, will get less than Turiaf for one simple reason: he's smaller. Sure Craig can pull down boards and put points on the board better than most, but size is always at a premium and big men who are defensive liabilites are always a problem. DeSagana Diop got the full MLE, and Marc Gasol got $10 million over three years. Both are bigger, one's experienced and one's a rookie. Craig should still be somewhere in between.